Summary: Every time we try to use worldy influence or power or scheming to get God’s work done we end up doing more damage to his kingdom than if we’d just let the weeds grow until harvest time.
Most of you are way too familiar with the problem of weeds.
Even those of you who live in Covenant Village where the weeds are generally taken care of by the grounds crew can remember when you were children and you had to pull the weeds in the garden.
I must have spent every Saturday morning for the first 10 years of my life pulling weeds in the yard. I hated Saturdays. They were the worst days of the week because my parents forced me to do chores. This, of course, goes a long way in explaining why I am the way I am - the psychological and emotional trauma I suffered.
And I’m still fighting those nasty little vexations -- the weeds. They are a problem especially at this time of the year. You see, I rely a lot on golden poppies for color in the yard. They come up in the spring quite naturally now. And they will fill the garden with golden yellow flowers - until the end of June or so when they begin to fry.
So I go in an pull them all out as soon as they’ve dropped their seeds. This leaves a big color gap and a fertile crescent for the weeds to fill in. The only problem is that if I go in to either spray or hand weed I end up destroying all of the new poppies that are already coming up and which will be the color in the fall.
I can top a few of the weeds as they get obnoxiously big but mostly I have to let the weeds grow with the poppies. Then in the fall I know that the poppies will choke out the weeds - but for now I have to live with them if I want to have poppies.
That was pretty much the point that Jesus was making about the weeds in his parable.
Jesus is sitting in a boat and telling people stories to explain the kingdom of heaven to them.
And in Matthew 13:24 he says, "Think of the kingdom like this. There was a farmer who planted wheat in his field. However, one night his enemies came in and sowed a bunch of weeds on top of the fresh soil."
As the plants began to emerge the man’s servants noticed that there were an extraordinary number of weeds mixed in with the wheat.
So they went to their master and asked, "What kind of seed did you buy? You bought top of the line didn’t you? We’ve got a major weed problem out there."
And the farmer responds, "Well, my enemies must have sown weeds out there."
The concerned servants, who knew that their stomachs depended on the success of the same field, offered to go pull out the weeds. But the farmer said, "No, I think it’s better that we let the weeds and the wheat grow together for awhile. If we try to pull the weeds we’ll end up pulling the wheat, too. So, let’s just wait until the harvest. Then we’ll separate the two- burn the weeds and store the wheat."
In other words, we’re stuck with weeds until the harvest. And that’s the key point of not only Jesus’ parable but also my message this morning. We’re stuck with weeds until harvest time.
Of course, this isn’t really a lesson in agricultural practice. It’s about the kingdom or reign or rule of God.
The Jewish people of Jesus’ day were anxiously awaiting the coming kingdom of God - that which the prophets had predicted - the time of the Messiah - the reestablishment of Jewish independence and power.
This, at least according to their thinking, would mean purifying the land of all foreign influences. And everyone was trying to figure out the best way to make this happen.
The Zealots were trying to bring about the kingdom through revolutionary and guerillas tactics directed at the occupying Roman forces.
The Essenes were trying to bring the kingdom about by living purified lives out in the desert. If they could avoid all impurity they figured that they could become the pure starting point for a new Israel.
The Pharisees, on the other hand, thought that they could bring in the kingdom with an organized and structured revival of Jewish practices.
They were all pretty much shooting for the same thing - the coming of the kingdom of God or heaven.
So Jesus comes along and starts talking about the arrival of this kingdom - which got everyone all excited. "We’ll be freed from the Roman yoke. Once again Israel will be the light on a hill."
But leave it to Jesus to throw a monkey wrench into their own plan or perception. He tells them, indeed the kingdom is coming into power but not exactly in the way that you’re expecting. We’re going to be stuck with a few weeds for awhile.